When visitors first come to Japan, there is a constant temptation to try and save money by cutting as many corners as possible. With relocation and transportation fees all stacking up, it can be galling to think about paying the ridiculous 敷金 しききん (security deposit) and 礼金 れいきん (“key money”) fees that most apartment owners want.
One thing that foreigners attempt in an attempt to save cash is to stay in “incident apartments.” These are properties where bad things have happened. Due to their history, these apartments are often in convenient locations and 30 to 40 percent cheaper than other rentals on the market. However, before plonking down your cash and declaring that “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts,” it’s be worth knowing exactly what you are about to get yourself into.
These apartments have a number of names, all of which display the Japanese ability to understate horror. The most common term is 事故物件 じこぶっけん (incident apartments), but I am more of a fan of 心理的瑕疵物件 しんりてきはしぶっけん (literally: psychologically defective property) just for the bizarre imagery that this expression conjures up.
Be careful not to confuse these with the similar 法律的瑕疵 ほうりつてきかし (legally defective property). This describes apartments with actual visible flaws such as foundation cracks or that failed a safety inspection. Admittedly, choosing between physical or psychological horror is not a particularly pleasant choice!
At this point, it’s worth cross referencing your potential apartment with the Oshimaland website. This website features very matter-of-fact descriptions of the things that caused the “psychological damage” to your potential abode and lets you decide if your sanity can handle living there.
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